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The Future of Knowledge Management: How AI Will Change the Way We Manage Knowledge

In the heart of every organisation lies a beast. It's not a ferocious creature, but a silent behemoth, growing exponentially with each passing day.

This beast is the unstructured, widely dispersed, and often elusive pool of knowledge within a company. This knowledge, embedded in individual minds, business processes, policy documents, operational transactions, discussion boards, and countless online chats and meetings, constitutes an organisation's intellectual capital.

Studies show that as much as 90% of an organisation’s knowledge is embedded and synthesised in its employees’ minds.

But harnessing the power of this beast has become a significant challenge in modern enterprises. 

The cost of unmanaged knowledge

The problem is not just that this knowledge is underutilised. It's also that it can be costly. Companies can lose millions of dollars each year due to inefficient knowledge sharing and onboarding.

For example, one survey found that a 3,000-employee business incurs an $8 million annual loss due to inefficient knowledge sharing and onboarding. The survey also found that:

  • 60% of respondents struggle to access vital job-related information from colleagues.
  • Employees, on average, waste 5.3 hours weekly waiting for coworker assistance.
  • Unshared knowledge causes project delays; 66% last up to a week, and 12% last a month or more.
  • Despite 2.5 months of formal training, new hires may take up to 6 months to fully adjust. They often spend around 3.5 months independently learning their roles, searching for information, and unintentionally duplicating work.
  • Almost 30% of employees feel undertrained, with half believing their organisations could benefit from offering more training resources and opportunities.

How to manage unstructured knowledge

There are a number of ways to manage unstructured knowledge, including:

  • Creating a knowledge repository: A knowledge repository is a central location where all of an organisation's knowledge can be stored and managed. This can be a physical or virtual repository, such as a document management system or a wiki.
  • Using tagging and categorisation: Tagging and categorisation can help employees find the information they need more quickly. Tags can be used to identify the topic of a document, while categories can be used to group related documents together.
  • Implementing a knowledge-sharing culture: A knowledge-sharing culture encourages employees to share their knowledge with others. This can be done through informal channels, or through more formal channels, such as Slack.
  • Use technology: There are a number of technology solutions that can help organisations manage unstructured knowledge, such as Confluence. These solutions can automate tasks, such as tagging and categorisation, and they can make it easier for employees to find the information they need.

The promise of AI

AI can play a significant role in managing unstructured knowledge. AI-powered solutions can:

  • Automatically extract and classify information: AI can automatically extract information from documents and other sources, and it can classify this information into concepts. This can help employees find the information they need more easily.
  • Answer questions in natural language: AI can answer questions in natural language, which can make it easier for employees and customers to get the information they need without having to search through documents or other sources.
  • Generate insights: AI can generate insights from data, which can help organisations make better decisions.

Have you seen that generative AI models, such as ChatGPT, can be trained on your company's knowledge to answer questions about company policies or procedures, or to provide customer support? They are even being used to generate personalised content for employees, customers and partners.

In fact, you may have already interacted with an AI assistant without realising it.

The future of knowledge management

The future of knowledge management is bright. As AI continues to evolve, it will become increasingly capable of managing unstructured knowledge. This will free up employees to focus on more strategic tasks, and it will help organisations to make better decisions, serve customers more efficiently, innovate faster, and generate more revenue.

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